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Back Pain Treatment

The complexity of the causes of back pain and the considerable interaction of body and psyche play a major role in its treatment. Drug therapy or even surgical therapy can, under certain circumstances, eliminate the cause of the pain, and yet affected individuals continue to suffer, as if from an old habit of pain. Therefore, it is important that the patient actively participates in the elimination of back pain.

Back pain - what patients can do for themselves

Preventive measures also count as therapy. With exercise, you ensure that the affected region is sufficiently supplied with blood. Activity is, despite initial overcoming, the first step to recovery. In some cases, the complaints are based on an acute inflammation. If so, application of cold may be advisable. If in doubt, just try it out. You can treat yourself with various measures:

  • Heat: Take warm baths – no longer than 15 minutes, the water should be at body temperature, do light stretching exercises in the bath. Other heat treatments:
    • Sauna (not recommended for patients with heart disease or hyperthyroidism).
    • heat pack (for example. fango, mud, paraffin)
    • electric heat (heat pad, heat radiator, infrared heat lamp)
    • warm affusion. Treating the main points for about 10 to 15 minutes with a hard water jet
    • poultice, plasters and ointments as a constant source of heat (consider possible side effects)
  • Physiotherapy: a professionally guided combination of different exercises to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles relieves the spine and reduces tension. You should do the exercises daily – even after the symptoms have subsided.
  • Massage: this method only provides short term alleviation for chronic complaints. For long term alleviation, it is important to actively build up the sustaining and supporting muscles.
  • Avoid unnecessary strain by sitting, standing, carrying and lifting properly. Reduce smartphone time, avoid permanent postures (in front of the PC).
  • Make sure you get enough exercise, such as climbing stairs.
  • Sports
  • Relaxation

Spine Center

In collaboration with our colleagues in neurosurgery and traumatology, we have established the Spine Center at the University Hospital of Zurich. This center provides the ideal framework for the interdisciplinary evaluation and care of patients with complex back pain. Within the cooperation framework of the two surgical clinics, patients can be quickly and specifically referred to surgical therapy if indicated. On the other hand, back patients who do not qualify for a surgical approach can be quickly and easily referred to an interventional pain treatment or a multimodal, rheumatological complex treatment at the Clinic for Rheumatology.

Back pain - what can the doctor do?

Medical treatment aims to relieve the symptoms, find and eliminate the causes of back pain, and to prevent the pain from becoming chronic. This is because constant pain runs the risk of developing what is known as pain memory, in which the body perceives pain even though the original cause has already been eliminated. We prescribe anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications and may order various therapeutic measures. These include:

  • Back school, e.g., as part of medical training therapy.
  • Active physiotherapy, instruction of home exercises
  • Manual therapy of the spine or surrounding myofascial structures
  • acupuncture
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Interventional pain therapy (infiltrations under X-ray control)
  • Inpatient multimodal complex treatment for chronic cases

Rarely, surgical interventions are necessary – for example, to repair a herniated disc. Before we advise you to do so, we will discuss with you how you can try to get your back problems under control by changing your lifestyle through more exercise, targeted exercises and reducing excess weight.

For patients

As a patient, you cannot register directly for a consultation. Please have your primary care physician or specialist refer you. If you have any questions, please use our contact form.

For referrer

Please refer your patients online.

Tel. +41 44 255 26 87